Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A baby changes everything...

It's that time again, when the world does an about face and all together decides to celebrate the birth of a baby, so long ago.

I love this time of year. It's always been a lot more to me than presents and carols and trees. I love the spirit that seems to humanize (most) people. Even my friends who are not believers in the commonest sense seem to step back, become a little kinder, a little more tolerant.

The birth of seven-pound-six-ounce baby Jesus (thank you Ricky Bobby) brings about a rebirth of goodness, kindness and compassion, even if it's only for a couple weeks out of the year.

Can you imagine being Mary? Being just a teenager - maybe 13 or 14 - so young! Being pregnant with the Son of God? Can you imagine being Joseph? Being asked to become the adoptive daddy to the Savior of Man? What heavy responsibilities asked of a couple so young. This was a baby that truly DID change everything.

But apparently God knew what he was doing. And the story began.

Now most of us know that Jesus wasn't born in December, and that Santa as a person may not really be real (although he is in spirit all year long), yet it's appropriate that we celebrate the season of wonder in the winter, when life is covered in freshly fallen snow and the stars seem to shine brighter in the darkness of the sky. (Insert bad dad joke here: It's the season of wonder alright - I WONDER if this winter will ever end! Ba-dum-bum!)

This Christmas, it will be warm here in Texas. No snow anywhere in sight. And Carl and I will take some time to thank God for that day so long ago, when the Son of God came to earth as a tiny baby. We will thank God that He learned from His parents, that He walked the earth and shared the Good News. We will thank God for His sacrifice and His redemption and His Spirit in our hearts and in our lives.

And I will thank God for you, dear blog reader. May you have a wonderful, warm and happy Christmas and always, please, remember the reason there is a Christmas season. :-)

And if you haven't already heard it, take four and a half minutes out of your life and listen to Faith Hill singing 'A Baby Changes Everything' - and see if you don't get shivers down your spine and thankfulness in your heart.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Post from the Land of Yuck

Since last Friday afternoon, I have been down with the Yucks.

Not the Laughing Yucks. Those are fun. I especially like the side-splitting, pain-in-the-gut yucks that leave you gasping for air. Those yucks don't suck.

No, this was (is) the phlegm-y, hacking cough, sore throat, fever, headaches, body aches, what-the-heck-is-that-coming-out-my-nose kinda Yucks. And just for kicks, I lost my voice for a couple of days. I still don't really have it back.

It's a bad time to be down too. There are deadlines to meet, cookies to bake, gifts to give, laundry and cleaning to be done. But no. I have been bent low and wiped out with this nastiness.

So this Christmas will probably be really low-key. Just me and the husband, maybe a movie and a chicken pot pie or something for dinner. Heck, since he is coming down with it, we might just spend the holidays cooped up on the couch in front of the TV, catching up on some old DVDs and Tivo.

And you know what else?

Have a great Thursday night.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Musical Postcard - Fountains of Wayne

You know how there are songs that just remind you of home? I was reminded of a fave Fountains of Wayne tune by an LL Bean commercial. Can you believe that? LL Bean?

Anyhoo, there is a tune off their 2003 album 'Welcome Interstate Managers' called "Valley Winter Song" that I just love. And subsequently totally forgot about, until LL Bean tried to sell me some slippers and a winter coat. Their commercial features this song and it immediately took me back to this album, and reminded me of other great songs like "Stacy's Mom" and "Hey Julie."

Anybutt, growing up in my home town, I spent a lot of winter nights at the recreation area skating rink. I would trudge through the snow (it was Michigan, for crying out loud) and meet up with my friends and we would skate the night away. The rink was outdoors, and there was only a small warming hut to store your boots and unfreeze your hands after a couple hours of skating around the rink.

Some of my most favorite times were at the skating rink.

So here is a video using Fountains of Wayne's "Valley Winter Song" done by a dude named boojwahz. Not only is it a great tune, but it reminds me of some of the best times of my life. I hope you enjoy it as much as I!

And here are Fountains of Wayne doing the song live.

UPDATE: I found the CD stuck behind a stack of books in the office. SWEET!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hmm.... what WOULD Jesus do?

I'm pretty sure Jesus doesn't worry too much about the commerce side of His whole enterprise. He's probably got people that manage that. But I have a feeling SOMEONE is gonna get canned (or at least receive a stern talking-to and a three-week stint in purgatory) for this one:

fail owned pwned pictures

I really hope I'm not going to hell for this.

Another month, another chance to ...

...either a) screw it up or b) make it FABULOUS!

I am really hoping for a fabulous December.

So far the freelancing has been going well. I mean I've at least made the last three house payments, so that rocks. I am enjoying my work with BC and am meeting this week with a veep out there - so that will either a) RAWK or b) not rawk.

Ever notice how life is full of choices? A's and B's? Ones or twos? Rawking and not rawking?

Sometimes life is like a ginormous restaurant where every dish ever conceived is always on the menu. You can stuff yourself silly with appetizers or enjoy a buffet of entrees or you can skip it all and go right to dessert.

The hard part is the moderation.

Sometimes, I want to dive right in like I did last night at the Chinese buffet. I had a little Mongolian grill with lots of fresh veggies and chicken and I threw a little lo mien on the plate. I had a couple of dumplings and some garlicky string beans. I had 1.5 plates and that was just a little too much. I was miserable for about 20 minutes and then I was hungry again (HA! That was a joke!) I totally feasted on average Chinese-y food and it was OK.

Because there will be times when the ginormous restaurant will be closed. And then dumplings and Mongolian grills will not be available to me. Life will serve raman noodles and generic store brand macaroni and cheese. With instant powdered milk and fake butter. And I will be (try to be) content with that too.

Man - I really love those garlicky string beans.

What a weird post, huh?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Things that make me happy TODAY!

I am home, in my own house, sitting on my own couch, watching my own TV and snuggled up in my own Dallas Stars blanket.

While I do like to get away, to me, the best part of vacations will always be the coming home part.

So, in no particular order, and making no particular sense, these are a few things that are making me happy RIGHT NOW, at 4:18 PM on November 29, 2008.

  • I am home. HOME! In Arlington, Texas.
  • Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate.
  • Genie Jean who snuggled with me all night while I was sick.
  • The nice cold weather and the brisk breeze - my windows wide open and sleeping under an electric blanket. That is BLISS, I tell you.
  • The dishes are done.
  • There is no leftover turkey, green bean casserole or yams in my fridge. I DO miss the leftover stuffing and gravy though.
  • I got a nice check in the mail. SCORE!
  • Microwave popcorn.
  • All my pups are happy and healthy. Lorrie took excellent care of them all. Plus I think Molly gained five pounds.
  • Whatever sickness I had yesterday is just about over. Thank God.
  • It's the parent's ACTUAL 50th Wedding Anniversary. No fighting today please. Try smacking each other on the butt.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Family Fantasy vs. Reality - What's the Score?

I am in Branson, MO on a family vacation. With my family. All of my family. This means my sisters and my brother (and their kids) along with my parents. It's day three, and there have already been fights, put-downs, threats to leave, and insults galore. It's been interesting, to say the least.

I have always wanted to have one of those great TV families. You know, like the Brady's or the Walton's or even the Camden's. But I am stuck with the Franckowiak's (try to sound it out - you'll still massacre it), and all that entails.

The reason for our gathering is our parent's 50th wedding anniversary. And while I can respect the good Catholic theology of staying together for the sake of the children, sometimes I wonder if my parents wouldn't be happier if they were not married. Not to mention that the youngest of the children is now in their early 40's and we have all seen the angst and in-fighting in their relationship and we've all wondered... why? Why stay together when there is such animosity?

All this angst has me, for lack of a better and more descriptive word, constipated. I am trying to be the peacemaker, my familial role, and it stresses me out. But I only have until Saturday, then I can head back to my own house and my own bed, hang with my own friends and hug my own dogs.

I realize this post may seem a little negative, but I honestly DO love my family. But there are times when I don't LIKE them very much. :-/

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day.

Interestingly, a LOT of people think that Veteran's Day is an excuse for blow-out sales and half-price dinners at local restaurants. And since I was in retail for the longest time, I helped perpetuate that fraud. And I am sorry about that.

Veteran's Day is actually about the VETERAN. That's the guy or gal that took a couple years (or longer) out of their lives to serve our Country.

Some of them were fortunate. They travelled the world and guarded our countries while on foreign soil, but never had to see an actual war.

Then there are those, like my brother, who have been in the trenches. Jimmy was involved in the FIRST Iraq war. I remember watching it on television and being absolutely petrified for his young life.

My family has a lot of veterans in it. My Dad and my sweet husband were both in the Air Force. My brother was in the Army. My brother-in-law is a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel. My uncle Tom was in the Navy (that's where he got his tattoo). My nephew Bryan is right now on a Navy submarine somewhere only God knows. My other nephew, Brad, is in the Reserves, and knows his time to deploy is coming soon.

The men in my family have always believed in service. Not just for the educational and financial benefit, but to actually SERVE our country. It's not pounded into them - we are not a one-branch-of-the-service family. It's just a way of thanking the United States of America for all the good gifts we have received.

So today, Tuesday November 11, instead of going out and hitting the sales, maybe take a drive by your National Cemetery and plant some flags or watch the service. Or drop by the local VFW and buy a cup of coffee for the guy wearing the "I Served" cap. Or say a little prayer for all the active military personnel still serving around the world. Or just look at the American Flag and say a little "thank you" in your heart.

And remember, freedom is never free, and it's our Veterans (and their families) who paid the price for it. Amen.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My attempt to be a better person - FOR ONE DAY ONLY!!

OK - this is the dealio.

For one day only, tomorrow, Monday, November 10, 2008, I am ONLY GOING TO SPEAK NICE THINGS ABOUT PEOPLE.

This is my attempt at being a better person - even if it's only for one day. If you hear me say or see me type something bad or nasty about someone, you have permission to slap me. Not too hard though, because I am delicate.

Thanks, Rinila, for the article and the idea. Maybe we should all read it and try it for just one day. Maybe we can all make it a habit.


Thursday, November 6, 2008


There are a lot of different herbs and spices that make life tasty and delicious. In my spice cupboard, there are lots of bottles and cans with mixes and blends that are used for specific things. There are blends like Sunshine, Cajun spice blend, Mesquite BBQ rub, Lemon Dill rub for fish, Montreal chicken and steak seasonings, lemon pepper and the like.

There are herbs, of course. Rosemary is my favorite - I use it a lot. Basil, thyme, sage, tarragon, chervil, parsley, marjoram (another fave) and coriander.

Spices like cinnamon, allspice, saffron (yikes on the cost of THAT!) are in there too.

And then there are the salts. There's regular old Morton's Iodized Salt (Dad still gets his for free), there's kosher salt, smoked salt, grey salt, sea salt, flaked salt, popcorn salt, gos sel, brining salt and pink salt in my cupboard. Yes, all these salts are there and yes, they all get used.

We can't physically live without salt, which is a good thing because it tastes so darn... salty and delicious.

Until I became an 'interested' chef, I never really gave a thought to salt. When I watched a program on salt, I became more intrigued and have been experimenting with all kinds of salts.

  • Black Salt, Kala Namak, Sanchal - Significant for its strong sulfur odor (India) this salt is a pearly pink gray. It is used in Indian cooking. I have not tried this salt, but i have seen it and smelled it. The smell sorta turned me off, but some might like it. Maybe I'm just not as adventurous as I think I am!

  • Grey salt, Celtic salt, Sel Gris – Harvested from the light film of salt which forms during the evaporation process. The gray or light purple color comes from the clay in the region of France where it is harvested. Collected using traditional Celtic hand methods. This is a really great, light tasting salt. Perfect on fish, chicken or other lighter meats.

  • Hawaiian sea salt – Has a distinctive pink hue from the Alaea added to it. The Alaea is volcanic red clay with a high content of iron oxide. This salt is used in many traditional Hawaiian dishes like Kahlua Pig and Hawaiian Jerky. I haven't tried this yet because it's kinda expensive.

  • Gos Sel, Gale Grosso – Is a larger grain salt which resists moisture and is intended to be ground. Uses include flavoring for soups and salt crusts on meats. I use this in my chicken soup because it really gives it a great flavor.

  • Flake salt – Shaped like snowflakes, the brine is made using the sun and wind for evaporation. Then the brine is slowly heated to create the flakes. I brine my turkeys and chicken in this. Yummo.

  • Fleur de Sel, Flower of Salt, Flor De Sal – Skimmed from the top of salt ponds early in the process of evaporation, this is considered a great condiment salt; also good on grilled meats, in salads and on vegetables. The flavor, like wines, varies depending on the region it is harvested from. Typically it is from France though some is produced in Portugal. An expensive salt, I've got a little jar of it and use it sparingly.

  • French Sea Salt – Processed less than American salt, retains more of the mineral content gained from the Atlantic seawater it is harvested from. This usually includes natural iodine. A coarse salt, this is good for salads, vegetables and grilled meats.

  • Italian Sea Salt, Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino – Harvested from the lower Mediterranean sea by hand using traditional methods of natural evaporation, this salt is high in iodine, fluorine, magnesium and potassium. A delicate salt which is good on salads and in sauces.

  • Smoked Sea Salt - One other derivative of sea salt is a smoked sea salt. The salt is smoked over real wood fires to add the flavor to the crystals. These can be used in soups, salads, pasta and also in grilling foods like salmon. I bought some of this from Michael Chiraello's store Napa Style - expensive and worth every penny.
So I totally encourage you to step out of your iodized salt habit and give some of these others a try. You just might find a new taste that you can't live without.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Depression Cooking

No, this isn't a post about cooking when you are depressed, although I DO do a lot of that. This is actually a post about a little video series I ran across that totally reminded me of my Gramma Stella.

Gramma Stella was my father's mother. She was born in 1903 and died in 2005 - yes, she was 102 years old when she passed. Gramma Stella was a vibrant woman, as big around as she was tall (well, to be honest she was kinda short). She had four children, all of them born during the Depression. Like my Gramma, my dad still has depression sensibilities, i.e., thrift, frugality, making do with what you have, saving, saving, saving, etc. She taught him very well.

Gramma watched us kids a lot when we were little, because my parents worked. Both of them worked afternoon shifts - my dad at the paper mill or the salt plant, and my mom at the hospital. So from about 2:00 until midnight everyday, Gramma watched us.

She was a tough cookie too. Nothing got past her. But I (and my severely whipped-a-lot fanny) digress.

We ate a lot of what people today might find sorta disgusting. We ate a lot of things like liver sausage sandwiches (on dark rye bread), czarnina (a fruity soup cooked with pork shoulder and duck's blood), weird sausages, a lot of Polish foods. Things were always fresh because of the farm - lots of eggs, lots of fresh milk, pork and beef.

During the depression, when things weren't going so hot, Gramma learned to make do with whatever she had on hand. Her creativity in the kitchen resulted in meals that are still familiar to me today - things like kluskis and bacon, noodles and cabbage, and what was known as Poorman's Meal. She made us kids a lot of Poorman's Meals.

Poorman's Meal always started out with potatoes and onions fried together (usually in bacon fat - yummy) with some sort of meat added in toward the end. I remember eating this with hot dogs, ring bologna, kielbasa, smoked sausage and even leftover pork chops.

I found this cool video on YouTube - it's someone's Gramma cooking the Poorman's Meal! Her's is a little different (my Gramma didn't use any tomato sauce or water in hers) but the feeling and tone are the same. She even says potato the way Gramma did (puh-tay-duhs).

This was a fun little reminder for me of those days with Gramma Stella and enjoying her Poorman's Meal.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Getting Out (To) Vote

Well, here it is, Tuesday, November 4, 2008. Voting day.

I wrote down all my selections yesterday, put the paper on the kitchen table. It must have flown off or something because when I got up this morning, one of the dogs ripped it to shreds. So technically I DO have an excuse to not vote (the dog ate my list), but yet I will NOT let it keep me away from the polls.

The question I am posing to myself right now is this: Do I want to go back upstairs and figure out all of my choices again, thereby saving myself lots of time standing at the machine, or do I just go to the poll, nothing prepared, and stand there and think about which boxes I am going to check and hope - just hope - that my selections will pop back into my head?

Of course another option is to just crawl back into bed and take a nap until around noon. Then I could think about all this stuff again.

Why oh why didn't I vote early (and often)?

Monday, November 3, 2008

November is here... Where'd the year go?

I love this time of year.

The other day, I drove by a tree that is changing colors (what the...?) and stopped to take a photo. The problem is that I don't know how to download it from my Smart Phone That's Way Smarter Than Me Phone. Seriously, I barely know how to answer the darn thing.

I had to turn on the air conditioner because it's been averaging 88 degrees outside. Someone didn't get the memo about it being November.

The dogs have been digging craters again so they can be cool and comfortable when they are outside for more than 3 minutes at a time. Reminds me of the time I broke my coccyx...

Carl has worn shorts ALL weekend long. Not that this is really unusual because he wears shorts when it snows too. (I, on the other hand, wear flip-flops.)

This past Saturday, we had our annual Pyr Picnic in the Park. All the dogs were hot and tired after about an hour. All the dog owners were hot and tired after about 15 minutes.

Millie was in the Halloween Costume Contest at the Pyr Picnic and got a Participant ribbon. I am such a proud parent. Wait - maybe it's an Achiever ribbon. Honestly tho - does it matter?

Today is November 3. In just 16 short days, I will be 46 years old. I still act like a 12-year old, have skin like a 15-year old and the chin hairs of a 64 year-old. Something here is just not adding up.

Have been working on the parent's 50th wedding anniversary trip and family reunion. Friends and relatives have been sending cards and gifts and I just wanna open them all up because there's nothing I enjoy more than ripping the wrapping paper off a present.

Seriously, what do you get two people who already HAVE everything? I wonder if there are any toasters in this group. Or an electric can opener. Not that I need either one.

I also wonder how I am gonna get my suitcases in the car with all this other poop.

Have been working on a big freelance project for the last four weeks. Have not been paid yet. That is kinda frustrating as they owe me several thousand dollars right now. Still have not made the October mortgage payment. Have not yet freaked out, nor have I contemplated murder. Armed robbery, yes.

Since Halloween is also Carl's Birthday, I planned a weekend of fun for him and called it Carlukka. He enjoyed some presents from Lorrie and me, all his favorite activities, favorite foods and even a little golf and time with his doppelganger son. I think he totally enjoyed his 50th birthday. That was the goal. SCORE!

This post is pretty random, but that's just how I feel right now. Random.

Or maybe I am feeling with my fingers. I'll never tell.

Bring me some turkeys!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tag! I am IT! And so are Debi, Heidi and Heather!

Hmmm... Mrs. Senora Cobbey over at Orangina (formerly God Writes a Lot of Comedy) tagged me for the Three Things thingy.

So, here goes:

3 Joys

1. Carl. He likes me the way I am, and that's hot.

2. Bailey Gene, Bellie Jean, Molly Jean, Henry Gene, Millie Jean, Genie Jean and Jude.

3. Doing something unexpected for a friend.

3 Fears

1. Dying in a fire

2. Getting dementia or Alzheimer's.

3. Having no one to wipe my butt when I am old and in a home.

3 Goals

1. Moving out of this neighborhood

2. De-cluttering my life. MONICA WHERE ARE YOU?????

3. Setting some cash away for my eventual old age.

3 Current Obsessions

1. Sleep... sleep... sleep.

2. Shoes.

3. The BeautiControl Opportunity (don't ask)

3 Random/Surprising Facts

1. I was the class clown in high school. Hard to believe, huh?

2. I recently found a stray chin hair... on my boob!!!!

3. When I am missing home, I make a pot of kluskis and bacon (potato dumplings fried with bacon and onions) and I am back in Gramma's kitchen. Even at this age, I still get homesick.

Now the fun part. I tag the following ladies...

Debi over at Scriggle

Heidi/TeaHo over at RaggyGirl

Heather/RelocatedYank over at Desperately Seeking Sanity

Ladies - please share!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The credit crisis has reached Japan

It's true! The credit crisis has reached Japan...

In the last 7 days, Origami Bank has folded, Sumo Bank has gone belly up and Bonsai Bank announced plans to cut some of its branches.

Yesterday, it was announced that Karaoke Bank is up for sale and will likely go for a song while today shares in Kamikaze Bank were suspended after they nose-dived.

While Samurai Bank is soldiering on following sharp cutbacks, Ninja Bank is reported to have taken a hit, but they remain in the black.

Furthermore, 500 staff at Karate Bank got the chop and analysts report that there is something fishy going on at Sushi Bank where it is feared that staff may get a raw deal.

(Dang, this is funny stuff.)

And now for something completely different...

Sent to me by a friend in a far-away place (west Fort-freaking Worth) and too darn funny NOT to share. Be sure you have your sound turned on!

I always do that music in my head when I am either a) close to missing a deadline, b)thisclose to missing a deadline, or c) I've just missed the darn deadline.

This music plays in my head a lot.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Story of Millie and How She Grew (or is Growing)

This was Millie only five sort months ago. Do you see that cute little handful of a dog? She started out as one of five pure-bred Great Pyrenees puppies unceremoniously DUMPED on the side of the road in Abilene, Texas. Millie, one sister and three brothers were picked up by a concerned passer by and taken to the Abilene shelter.

This is that little ball of nothing today.

It is totally hard for me to believe how big of a change there has been in her. She went from being a little runty (but quite feisty) pup to a 60-pound bundle of energy, joy and love. It seems like overnight.

Great Pyrenees are known for their herding and guarding abilities. Quite often, they are placed as puppies with a flock of goats or sheep (and usually an adult Pyr) to learn the guarding and herding secrets that are passed from Pyr generation to Pyr generation. At least that's how I *think* it works. Maybe I am getting Great Pyrenees mixed up with American Indians. Maybe I am confused. Maybe I need a nap.

However, Millie (or Mildred Jean when she misbehaves) is nothing at all like the herding guardian she is supposed to be.

Nope. Not at all.

Carl, my dear husband, has totally spoiled this little monkey. She is totally and deeply in love with her Papi and has him wrapped around her tiny little dew claws. Anything Millie wants, Millie gets. (Hey - I feel a song coming on here.) Whether it's a puppy treat, an hour-long tummy rub, snuggle time with a nap for good measure or the opportunity to clean his plate after dinner, he denies her nothing. NOTHING! What a sucker!

Millie fell in love with Carl on the ride home from Abilene. Our rescue group took in four of the five pups (don't worry - the other girl was adopted by a shelter worker and is living the high life too). From the time Carl (and Lorrie) picked her and her brothers up, she has rarely left his side.

Anybutt, I was looking at some photos of her, and am just truly amazed at how she has grown and how deeply she is entrenched in our lives. The problem with us (the League's) and rescue dogs is that once we have them all well and healthy, we find it too hard to give them up to new homes.

So, obviously, Millie is a foster failure. She joins Jude, Henry and Genie - all failures too.

Seriously, is there ANYTHING we don't suck at? GADS!

EDITED: Here is a photo of Millie in Carl's arms right after he picked her up from the shelter. Can you SEE why she is Papi's girl???

Note: Millie was only 8 weeks old in the first photo. She is now almost 7 months old. What a cutie!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I am NOT a Mommy-Blogger. I'm not even a MOMMY!

Mommy blogging is hot-hot-HOT! You've heard about them all, Dooce, Pioneer Woman, Amalah, Dad Gone Mad... blech, blech, BLECH! I'm not even going to link them here because sometimes (just sometimes) reading about other people's kids and all the cute little misadventures, bad words and goofy little things they do, get on my nerve.

You know I only have the one, right?

I've done some research and my blog doesn't fit into any of the mainstream blogging categories, which (in case you didn't know) are: Automotive, Business & Marketing, Entertainment, Graphic Arts, Green, Lifestyle, Mobile, News 2.0 (what the...), Parenting, Sports, Tech and Video Gaming.

My little home on the web doesn't fit into any of those particular categories very well, so I'm going to suggest a few of my own.

Dog Bloggers: Puppy parents (or kitty parents) blog about the day-to-day trials and triumphs of living with pets. You can have all the wailing puppy stories, the cat-ate-my-couch stories, tips on finding the right food, hairball relief, training a puppy to only poop in the neighbor's yard tips and so forth. THIS is a blog I would read.

Evil Step-Moms to 20-Something Kids: Another blog that is relevant to me. I have two stepkids - 28 and 26 - who STILL LIVE WITH THEIR MOTHER!!! No, I am not kidding. This irks me to no end, but then again, I was on my own at 17, married at 18 and divorced by 21. My step kids think I push them too hard to find jobs, get their own places, and have their own bank accounts. So does their mother. They're right - I AM evil!

Jobless and Maybe Soon-to-be Homeless: FABULOUS! I am right here, right now. I think this blog might be a little discouraging though. Just writing the title made me a little sad. Of course, if Federated Media decided this was a worthy category, it could wind up being a money-making deal. Then it wouldn't be so darn depressing.

Cooking from Cans: I noticed that there weren't any Food categories up there, yet there are a LOT of food blogs. I think some should be dedicated solely to the art of cooking from canned items. I've got some weird things in my cupboard that I have no idea what to do with - like Cream of Crab Leg Soup (now with MORE imitation crab legs!) and Jalapeno-Mint Jelly.

No Kids, No Way, No How: While I always thought I would have kids of my own, that wasn't the hand I was dealt. And I'm OK with that. But lets have some blogs dedicated to us - SINKs or DINKs or whatever they want to call us. They can focus on our obsessive needs to have clean hardwood floors, sparkling fixtures, and the latest and greatest gadgets in our homes, cars and on our persons. It could be the TOTALLY Selfish Blog! I like it. I should run with it (except that I am a member of the Jobless and Soon-To-Be-Homeless demographic).

All seriousness aside, you KNOW I love hearing about your kids, seeing their artwork and recounting their outstanding accomplishments on the soccer fields of America. I also like hearing about your cats, dogs and hamsters (SO sorry about Jello) their hairballs and seizures and potty problems. And I love to hear about your jobs too - especially if you JUST got a promotion and a GREAT BIG RAISE. Those make me feel all warm and gooey on the inside.

Hey - can anyone help me move a couple of bodies? :-D

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What kind of blogger am I?

Apparently, I am THIS kind:

You Are a Life Blogger!
Your blog is the story of your life - a living diary.
If it happens, you blog it. And you make it as entertaining as possible.
You may be guilty of over-sharing a bit on your blog, but you can't help it.
Your life is truly an open book. Or in this case, an open blog!
What Kind of Blogger Are You?

Monday, September 22, 2008

How my Really Hard Head saved me from seven years of bad luck

Yesterday I had an accident. An accident in the home, where apparently MOST accidents actually happen. Actually, I had THREE accidents yesterday in the home. It's a strange and weird thing that so many accidents happen at home, but home is where there are a lot of dangerous things, like forks and ice cubes and heavy mirrors from The Bombay Company.

So yesterday was not the best day for me, in terms of hanging out at home and being safe. In fact, I probably would have had a much better time if I had gone swimming with sharks, laid on a bed of nails, ran with the bulls in Pamplona or was played with the big boys in the Cowboys game.

Weird accident #1: So I am vacuuming the floor as company is supposed to be coming over for a breakfast date, when I step on a fork that is STICKING UP FROM UNDER MY FLOOR RUG. What the???? Come to find out that it was my husband's fork from his little snack the night before that he had "given to the dog to clean so I don't have to wash it before I put it in the dishwasher." While I truly appreciate that, not picking UP the fork after the dog was done, and leaving the fork UNDER the carpet was probably a pretty dumb thing. So I stepped on the fork and the four tines went right into my right heel. And since I couldn't see what I was stepping on, I STEPPED ON IT AGAIN!! Twice. On the same foot. But not in the same place.

So I've got my foot bleeding all over the place in two places. I guess that's what I get for vacuuming barefoot and trusting my husband with kitchen utensils. Gimme a little peroxide and I'll be fine. Lets go have pancakes!

Weird accident #2: Our dogs like ice cubes. They are like the Haagen Daas of dog treats for them, don't ask me why. It's just frozen water to me, but to them, they are little treats from heaven. Anyhoo, I was walking across the hardwoods in the den after giving the dogs an ice cube treat, when I slid on a piece of ice and smashed headlong into the loveseat, twisting my left knee in the process. Again, I was barefoot, but at least my carpets were vacuumed and the floor was swept. So I sat down and decided to check my email. I mean - COME ON - certainly nothing can happen to me while I am SITTING ON THE COUCH, right???

Weird accident #3: So I've got my right heel all nasty with eight little fork holes in it and my left knee is twisted from the stinking ice cube. Email seems so harmless - and actually, the email was. I was just about finished when the dogs come running in chasing each other. Henry, my little gay pyr (bless his heart) jumps up on me as I am setting the laptop on top of the bookshelf. The SAME bookshelf where a large, heavy mirror from The Bombay Company (my former employer - thanks for going out of business and leaving me broke and brokenhearted) is just LEANING against the wall - because it's way stylish that way and I am too lazy to hang it. (Was that a really long run on sentence? Sorry.) So I apparently pushed the laptop back too far and the mirror comes CRASHING down ON TOP OF MY HEAD.

So I sit there for a few seconds - with a scared dog in one arm and a heavy mirror ON TOP OF MY HEAD when I realize - hey - THAT'S BLOOD! So I yell for my husband who is out in the garage doing secret manly things that can only be done secretly by a man in a garage, and he (eventually) comes in to see what I am screaming about.

Bless his heart, he lifts the heavy heavy mirror off my head and says, "Hey, you're bleeding - don't get any of that stuff on the couch! And hey look - the mirror ISN'T EVEN BROKEN! Good thing for you, woman - that's seven years of no sex, or bad luck or somesuch."

While part of me is glad that the mirror isn't damaged, I'm not quite as happy about the state of my head. I grab a towel and wipe up some of the blood that has landed on the Rich Corinthian Leather of our Man Room furniture, and head to the kitchen to see where the heck all this runny stuff is coming from.

My sweet husband has to advise me (from across the room) that it's from a nice two-inch gash on my head. Then he reminds me that other people's blood makes him nauseous. So while I want to cry and scream (my head FREAKING HURTS HERE PEOPLE!!!), I try to remain calm because I don't want my sweet love bug to hork - that's just ONE MORE THING that might send me over the edge.

After about a half an hour, the bleeding sorta stops. Man - heads REALLY bleed! Since I am uninsured, I decide NOT to make the trip to the ER and just buck up. They would probably just Super Glue my head closed anyway.

So I decided that probably the BEST thing for me to do would be to just go to bed. There IS a mirror over the bed, but it's hung pretty well, so I feel semi-safe. So at 7:13 PM on a Sunday evening, I am in bed, my pillows swathed with towels to catch any random bleeding from my head, my left foot in a sock to keep the fork tine holes clean, and my right knee on ice to keep the swelling down.

You know, I am REALLY glad I didn't decide to rewire that table lamp yesterday. It could have been a disaster.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Remembering Grandpa Harry

This morning I was up bright and early, Twittering, reading email and catching up on some blogs that I follow. A friend-that-I-have-never-met, Rini, had a link on her blog to the writings of Adrian Plass. I was intrigued and began reading.

First off, I thought that I had found a kindred spirit (but that's another post). Then I read one of his pieces called "First Harvest," and I find myself with happy tears, remembering my time with Grandpa Harry.

Grandpa Harry was my mom's dad. Very tall, heavy and deep-voiced, he always appeared to be a gruff kind of man to me, especially when I was very small. However, Grandpa was terrifically funny and we had this totally goofball relationship. He would listen to my jokes and funny stories, and then I would laugh while he played the invisible piano, or when he would poke his false teeth out at Grandma while her back was turned. I really think it was Grandpa Harry's gift to me - my offbeat sense of humor and the ability to make people laugh.

Grandpa also kept a garden in the back. It was large and neat. There were rows of tomatoes, zucchini, beans, onions and more.

And there was kohlrabi.

I remember one warm pre-fall afternoon I was hanging out with Grandpa. We were farting around in the garden, picking some of the late tomatoes and zucchini. I got to feed the turkeys which was fun.

Grandpa called me over to the back porch and showed me this odd looking root vegetable and said, "Let's have ourselves a little snack here, chuckle head." I got the hose out and we rinsed off this odd looking vegetable. Then Grandpa took out his pocket knife and gave me my first ever slice of kohlrabi. I remember that the first bite was crisp, and it tasted all peppery and clean. It was so crunchy and was totally delightful.

We sat on the porch and shared that little kohlrabi together until it was gone. Just us. And the turkeys.

That day had to have happened almost 40 years ago, but it feels like just yesterday.

Grandpa Harry has been gone a good long time now. I miss him a lot. I miss his silly jokes, and his pretend swatting of Grandma's behind. I miss how even when I was all grown up and living on my own, his bear hugs made me feel tiny and small and oh-so loved.

And I miss his invisible meat sandwiches too, but again, that's another post in itself. :-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Am I waiting for the other shoe to fall or is it really a turnaround?

Since I wrote about being discouraged last week, things have really been happening. Changing, mostly for the better.

I am cautiously optimistic. I am liking this change.

Which is not to say that there still aren't rotten things going on. My A/C unit, which happens to be upstairs in a little closet, is leaking and coming through my kitchen ceiling (which I just had fixed). I throw out a couple of the 5-gallon buckets of water every day. This is exasperating, because we just spent a little over $11,000 to get everything fixed and back to normal. Now that whole rigmarole will be starting again.

But, things are actually better and I am not freaking out about this mess (like I probably think I maybe should be).

On the job front, Carl was moved to a much better store. Sure it's further away and it's in Dallas, but he has much better people to work with and his salary will double because this store actually does business. It's in the Oak Lawn area of town and people there have disposable income and can pay for repairs on their cars. He works with another manager who appreciates his people skills and they work well as a team. Even Carl is happier in the mornings to go to work.

As for me, I had a good interview yesterday with a potential employer. This place would be perfect for me because it would be utilizing all my skills and it's only 3 miles from home. I can wear my jammies to work if I want - don't have to see anyone at all. It's all internet and phone. The money is a lot less, but I wouldn't have to spend money on gas or clothing or lunches - I could go home and see my puppies every day.

After months of waiting for our gas lease money to come through, we will finally be getting it this Thursday. We are one of the last families to get this bonus, because I bought my house before I married, and there were some issues there (my name had changed and Carl is not on the deed, etc.). But the good news is that this Thursday, we will get our bonus and will be able to get caught up on everything that has been hanging.

I believe I am finally clean of all Zoloft that had been in my system. I can't tell you how good I feel. I can sleep at night without grinding my teeth, and I sleep all the way through. No wake ups. I can cry when I feel sad, and I can totally belly laugh now when something strikes me as silly. I am a little sad that I missed out on FEELING things for almost three years, but I am happier that I am off the pills. And even with all the stress lately, I have not had a migraine. I hope I am not tempting fate, but I really have been feeling good.

There have been lots of prayers prayed for Carl and I, and I want to thank those of you who thought about us and lifted us up. Thank you to friends who have been there for us in thick and (really really) thin.

We believe that winds of change are blowing... where will it take us?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

On being discouraged

There. I've said it. I am discouraged.

I have been putting on a brave face for the last few months regarding my job situation and life in general. I gotta admit - it's been hard. Very hard. Money is very tight. There's a lot of tension in the air. I feel cut off from my friends and I'm generally just not as happy-go-lucky as I usually am. I can't seem to find a job in my field to save my life.

And then the news, in their daring quest to keep the world informed of the most depressing things possible, puts out this little article titled "People Who Lose Jobs Become Hermits." Um... ya think?

This article enlightens you to the fact that the world's social butterflies who involuntarily lose their jobs are 35% less likely to be involved in their communities than their employed counterparts.

Well heck - I could have told them that!

Shockingly, "Workers who got flung out of their jobs during their peak earning years, between the ages of 35 and 53, were the most likely to withdraw from the social buzz throughout their lives."

I've got to admit, my circle of friends has gotten considerably smaller since my recent job loss. Sure, there are some that are concerned about me, but I think there are far more who feign interest and those who really, in the big scheme of things, don't give a poop one way or the other.

I am happy (or trying to be) for my friends who have good jobs, lots of family support and a cushion to fall back on. But honestly, as most of these friends/acquaintances go on about their daily lives, people like me aren't given a single thought. We can't help them anymore. Believe me, it's difficult for me to NOT give of myself, my things or my money. And both Carl and I have noticed that since we no longer have the "means," many of our friends no longer have the "way" to reach out to us. It's then that we realize these people may not have truly been friends - but probably just hangers-on. And then it turns to bitterness and regret.

And then I wonder: Am I just a poor judge of people?

Believe me, I truly cherish those who have stuck with me and reached out to me during the last few months, when times have been the hardest. There have been two dear friends who have totally stuck by me, helped me through the most difficult, agonizing times, listened to me talk or was patient while I typed my IMs. I am so thankful to you two women (and you know who you are).

You know what the funniest part of this is? These two women aren't even "believers" in the commonest sense. One claims to be an agnostic (I believe) and the other, though she grew up Catholic, claims to be an atheist (although she herself was deeply injured by the religion and the inherent guilt heaped upon the heads of those trying to be faithful).

How wonderful is it that these two wonderful women are much closer to me than many of my Christian sisters! How wonderful that they will see a need and meet it, when others will turn a blind eye or walk away. How wonderful that they are literally putting feet to God's words without even believing them.

So this morning, I will cry a little, blog a little and pray a lot. Actually, these tears streaming down my face right now feel so cleansing.

And I know that in just a little while, BOTH of these dear women will contact me to check on me. They will remind me that it's not so bad. They will encourage me to NOT become the hermit I want to be.

I love you guys. Thanks for making me feel a lot less alone.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Things I COULD live without, but don't want to.

Today's post is in appreciation of all those little things that make living a little better or a little easier. I mean, you COULD do without them, but why would you want to?
  • Garbage disposals. Mine has been out for almost six weeks now. I am living without it, but living WITH it makes living less messy. And less frustrating.
  • Long-handled back scratchers. I got my latest one from World Market for $1.89 (although you can find less pretty ones at the Dollar Tree). It has a little Asian girl on it and gets all those itchy, scratchy places on my back that I just can't reach. Sure, I could be like a bear and go scratch my back on a tree, but the neighbors have been frowning on nudity lately. Who can blame them?
  • Bacon. Enough said.
  • A CAR! Living in the largest city in America WITHOUT public transportation blows. Anyhoo, I just got my car back after five weeks of not having it, and, while I haven't actually gotten out of the house, I CAN IF I WANT TO!!!
  • Great Pyreneeses. I don't really NEED seven of these sweet little monkeys, but they sure do make my life interesting. And hairy.
  • Gas grills. My husband says that real men cook with real fire. I guess he's probably right (what with him being an actual MAN and all), but I like the convenience of a gas grill. But I don't have one anyway so it doesn't matter.
  • The Ped Egg. I never knew how much I liked this thing until one of the dogs chewed on it, rendering it practically useless. And while I don't NEED it, I totally WANT this thing. It works great on getting rid of nasty skin on my well-used feets.
  • Hold 'em in underpants. Any woman over age 20 probably needs these things. How nice of them to make these instruments of torture in sizes to fit us voluptuous babes too.

OK, well I gotta go make some bacon... er... breakfast. Thank goodness for my hold 'em in underpants.

Monday, August 25, 2008

You find out who your friends are

Tracy Lawrence sings a song that has always rung true for me called "Find Out Who Your Friends Are" about just who steps up when you have an hour of need. This past week and weekend, I got to find out who some of my friends are. And it's been the coolest thing ever.

Let's talk about what I found out, what I asked God for, and how things got worked out.

The Car Story

As you, dear lone single reader, may have read, Carl blew up the engine on his car. Since he is the only one in the family to have a job right now, I had to give up Buddy, my friendly black Explorer, so he could get to work. This left me trapped in the house (see previous post on going stir crazy). Well, last week, we sold what was left of his car for $1200 - a little on the low side, but the guy who bought it WILL need to get a new engine. Anyhoo, I was talking to God and saying that we really, really needed a cash car that was less than $1000, that looked decent and ran good.

I think that's a pretty tall order.

So I was perusing the Craig's List (love you Craig and your little list too!) and saw an ad for a 1994 Lincoln Town Car - $850. I clicked on the link and saw a very nicely kept car, with just a few minor issues. I contact the owner and waited. And waited. And I waited.

I don't think I ever checked my email so often.

About 8:00 that night, I got an email back with a phone number to call. I immediately answered back and had Carl call this fellow about the car. He set up an appointment to go see the car within the hour - literally right down the street from us.

So he met the owner and drove the car and pronounced it good. He came home, called his master mechanic brother who told him he would be an idiot to not purchase this car - especially at that price.

We set up an appointment the next night to pay for and pick up the car. When I met the couple selling the car, I was immediately at ease. In fact, they got out of their car and came and HUGGED us both - basically complete strangers. Then I really felt that I was supposed to tell them about what I had prayed for. Phyllis, the wife, said that it was so weird because SHE had prayed that the car would go to someone who really NEEDED it. They had gotten SO many responses about the car that this had to really be a God thing - we both believe that.

Is this car perfect? No. It needs window motors and a rear view mirror. But the car is very clean and has obviously been well taken care of. It doesn't look like a 14 year old car.

Some of you might ask "Why get a cash car? Why didn't you trade in Carl's car for something newer?

Well, short and sweet, we simply can't afford a car payment now with me not working. And to tell you the truth, after four years of NOT having one, I kinda don't want one! And even if this car is older, it still gets decent mileage (in fact a little better than the Explorer), so we are saving money still by not having an extra $400 a month car payment.

This short story is still very long, but it demonstrates the faithfulness of God, and just how he sends people to you at the right time, and makes sure that your needs are taken care of. This was one cool experience. The next one is pretty cool too!

The Vacuum Cleaner

I have seven dogs. That's not news to many people, since Carl and I are always rescuing some Great Pyrenees from somewhere. So, I have to vacuum every day. Have to - or everything will be covered in piles of white fur.

Anyhoo, Thursday, I pull out my trusty 14-year old Oreck vacuum, turn it on and it goes "phifttttz kaboom." The motor on it blew.

Ever have something that just sets you over the edge? A straw that breaks your camel's back? This was one of those things. I just sat down and BAWLED - over a VACUUM CLEANER!

So I Twittered about it, and then just sat down to cry some more and ask God just HOW MUCH MORE AM I SUPPOSED TO TAKE? To a lot of people, a vacuum is really just a little thing. You can go to your local Walsmart or Targay and pick one up cheap - no problemo, right?

Except I am trapped without a car and the jobless thing makes purchases like this, necessary as it might be, a thing of the past. In my life today, EVERY little thing has to be budgeted.

Enter my friend Debi. Warm spirited and generous, Debi is like a little breath of fresh air in my life. We met at Pier 1, working on the same team and she is like a long-lost sister. We hit it off immediately and we would literally have lunch every day (and play Qwirkle and Skip-Bo and stuff).

She emailed and said she had an extra vacuum and would I like it - to which I of course, said YES! So my friend Lorrie took me to meet her at her yarn shop on Saturday.

She said the vacuum was old, but I sincerely do not believe her. She gave me a very pretty Hoover - very clean, looked like it had hardly been used, and even a bunch of bags. I was totally shocked! I swear this thing looks brand new!

When I got home, I turned that puppy on and vacuumed and vacuumed. It picked up everything I asked it to and more! Plus it's nice and loud and it makes the dogs MOVE when I get close. The Oreck was pretty quiet and I usually had to vacuum around any sleeping dogs. This way I can get it done right the first time.

And my house is clean again. Well, the floors are anyway (lets not talk about the rest, OK?).

Two major (to me) issues were taken care of in just a very short period of time by friends old and new.

So this fine, sunny Monday morning, after having a night of wonderfully deep, fulfilling sleep, I am grateful to God and to my friends for meeting these two important needs. I was stuck, and you guys pulled me out. So thank you to my old friend Debi, and our new friends Dee and Phyllis.

I hope you know that you can count on us right back.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Websites that I didn't know were real websites (until I checked)

OK, I've been out of a job since May 23, and I've got a LOT of time on my hands (what with being carless and TRAPPED IN MY HOUSE since about that time). So I surf the InterWebs (thank you Al Gore for inventing this) looking for interesting (to me anyhoo) stuff.

So the other day, I was thinking to myself and I said, "Susan - SELL A KIDNEY!" Sure it's a little painful and kind of invasive. Sure, living with only ONE kidney can be risky, but I NEED THE MONEY. So I checked out to see if it was available, and OF COURSE someone has already thought of this idea.


Anyway, on to another of my most favorite subjects - poop. I have seven dogs, and 2.5 of them are puppies, so poop is just a part of my everyday life. It's part of YOUR everyday life too, but you are probably too couth and delicate to talk about it. Anyway, has everything you need to know about poop (they say they are the #1 source for your #2 business). But BE WARNED - the website totally stinks. And it also gives new meaning to the term "Captain's Log." Hahaha - I made a some funnies. About poop.

And then there's this one - Apparently, you don't have to have 900 little packages of jello or boiling water.

I sure wish I would have known this LAST week.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Funny Email Subject Lines

... well, they are funny to me! These are ACTUAL email subject lines of emails I've received in my SPAM box just this morning.
  • Dumb and Poor? Here's a simple way to make money!!!
  • Refresh Your Insides!!!! (see offer for details)
  • Find out why 100k Americans are buying land in Costa Rica!!!!!
  • Would you meet me tonight if I was SPICY or if I was SWEET?
  • Ringworm?
  • Stop embarrassing credit checks!!!!!

I've decided that my insides DEFINITELY need refreshing. I really appreciate this little email reminder. And since I AM apparently both poor AND dumb, I'd better check out that "simple" way to make money. I'm sure it can't include me sending MY money in to some dude in exchange for ... nothing, can it? I mean, if it came DIRECT TO ME via email, it all has to be true, and legit, right?

I suppose if my insides were nice and fresh, I wouldn't have to worry about ringworm OR embarrassing credit checks. And maybe my new spicy or sweet lover would take my poor and dumb self away to our new land in Costa Rica, because we would have LOADS of money from taking surveys over the internets. Apparently, you can make THOUSANDS!

What are the funniest, goofiest, most off-the-wall-iest email subject lines YOU'VE seen? Let's share!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Little irritations and little nice-y-nices...

I know that we all have those little tiny "things" that just bug the heck out of us. I have noticed since by stopping the Zoloft, that there are a lot more little things that bug me. Some of those things are:
  • WHY does my husband have to BREATHE SO LOUD? Is there some sort of breathing competition that I am not aware of? It's bad enough that he snores at like 220 decibels (OK - maybe only 210), but regular old breathing too? Man, it's really been bugging me today.
  • Michael Phelps. I appreciate his accomplishment at this year's Olympics - I really do. But why do you want to push the DVD of his GREATEST OLYMPIC MOMENTS, his MEMOIRS (he's 23 years old! What kind of living could he have done other than that swimming thing?) and Michael's PERSONAL photo album?
  • Alicia Sacramone of the U.S. TOTALLY got screwed on the vault thingy. You give a medal to a girl who FALLS DOWN???
  • Blogger decided to publish this before I was ready. BAD BLOGGER! BAD!!!

Little nice things that are happening that make me... well, happy.

  • My formerly homeless friend in Michigan - Lynne - now has an apartment of her own. YAY LYNNE! I'm so glad God worked this all out for you!!!
  • I've had nine sales in my little etsy shop. Thank you Monica's sister-in-law Rini, Debi the Doodle and everybody else!!!
  • Lorrie and I are going to try to go into business together. This plan just might work!
  • Millie and Henry are turning into TOTAL snugglers. There is nothing like being snuggled by a Great Pyrenees puppy or two.
  • My banana-chocolate chip muffins turned out very well. Excellent even. And they taste SOOOOOOOOO good!

Well, that's about it. I'm kinda tired, a little dizzy. Another little thing that makes me happy is knowing that this too will pass and all my feelers will start getting back to something called "normal" - whatever that is.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The road back to normal...

I am off the Zoloft. It is day five and it is getting better.

Yesterday was a bad day. I had the withdrawal headache all day, tremors, brain "zaps" and more. Nausea and a little vertigo too.

I thought for a long time that Zoloft was a wonder drug - and it sort of WAS a wonder for me. I had been experiencing severe, debilitating migraine headaches when my doctor decided to put me on Zoloft. By severe, I mean winding up in the emergency room, with doctors thinking brain tumor or aneurysm. An eye that literally ran tears and couldn't open or close because the pain was so bad. Sleeping in a closet because it was the darkest room in the house. Cat scans, MRIs, Demerol, morphine - you name it, I went through it. If you've had a migraine that bad, you know where I'm coming from.

So, after taking Zoloft for almost three years, I really decided that I wanted to FEEL things again.

When I was on Zoloft, life was pretty even-keeled. I wasn't worried about too many things. But things were always in neutral. I mean I couldn't cry at funerals or at my own failures or disappointments. I couldn't really celebrate my victories and triumphs either though. I couldn't get in gear, and I couldn't stay parked (a funny car analogy - you are welcome, Carl). I was just stuck.

My doctor, bless his handsome little heart, never told me about the withdrawal symptoms - probably because he had never been on the drug himself. I honestly think that if I had known about them, I never would have gotten on it in the first place.

Here's what you CAN experience when withdrawing from Zoloft. Please note, this list is in no way complete:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo
  • Excessive thirst
  • REM disorder
  • Brain "zaps"
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Tingling in extremities
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fatigue

  • Wow - I've been experiencing ALL of these things in the past few days. Today, Friday, is the first day I have wakened without a headache - and I feel almost back to normal.

    By brain is having wonderful, new creative thoughts - something that has actually been difficult in the past. I'm keeping a notebook close by for when these flashes of genius (ha!) happen. They usually occur after a brain zap, which is then followed by a weird sensation of my lungs opening up - like an involuntary deep, deep breath that cleanses out the head. In pops an idea!

    Zoloft has a 50% daily half life. I'm no math whiz, but there after taking 100 mg a day for almost three years, I'm thinking that I will be totally clean in about two weeks, give or take... four to six weeks. LOL.

    What HAS been good about this? I've been able to mourn my friend Jamie's death. I've finally cried about being RIFed from Pier 1. I am feeling sorta romantic toward my husband again (he'll be pretty happy to hear that). Of course, I am also feeling anger, irritability and hopelessness occasionally too - but that's ALL RIGHT. I think that's NORMAL. At least I am FEELING again. And that's the best part.

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    On Life Not Turning Out As Planned

    Has your life turned out as planned? Are you doing all the things you imagined you'd do? Have you traveled the world, given birth to the most intelligent and beautiful children, are you living in a five-bedroom house with a pool and a tennis court? Did you marry the football player hunk? Are you a gazillionaire and sharing the wealth? Are you as HAPPY as you thought you'd be?

    The Pioneer Woman posed this question on her website: "How does your life compare to the plans, dreams, and expectations you had ten, twenty years ago?" The responses have made for fascinating reading, and have caused me to ponder just what the heck happened to MY life. It sure didn't turn out as planned.

    When I was a kid, I always thought that I would get married and have three or four kids that would love me and be affectionate - totally NOT the way I grew up. I mean, I knew my parents loved me, but showing it was another story. Anyway, my kids would have been brilliant, outgoing, athletic, funny - a lot of the things I am not. I would be married to a successful man who took good care of me, met my every whim, gave me the opportunity to grow and develop myself. He would be gorgeous and have rock-hard abs. I would be a size six princess with long strawberry blonde hair. My Polish nose would have been "fixed" a long time ago.

    Funny how real life is never what you expect. Dreams die, or change. You realize the perfection you chased is never going to materialize.

    Maybe you just grow up. Maybe you were deluding yourself all along.

    I sure didn't picture myself unemployed at age 45, childless, mortgaged to the hilt, bankrupt, married to a man that I love, but who can't support me, always having to work so hard for everything... If I had foreseen THIS future, I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago.

    So, life is a struggle. One thing after another. There is no bed of roses for me to lie on, no smart and beautiful children to take care of me in my old age, no nice nest egg in the bank.

    Maybe I am just freaking out because I am off the Zoloft and can really FEEL things again. I was telling a friend earlier that I've just been bawling today because I am finally able to do so. I'm not a fan of this feeling stuff. I kind of liked it when I was zoned out and things didn't bother me and I wasn't worried about the future and what's coming around the bend.

    Dang that Pioneer Woman for making me all thinky, freaking out-y and melancholy.

    Anyhow, blog reader (all one of you), has YOUR life turned out the way you thought it would? Tell me about it.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    All the maybes...

    Ever have blogger's block?

    I think I've got it.

    I have a lot of stuff in my head, it just wants to stay there. Weird.

    Maybe I am just getting lazy. Maybe I am just tired. Maybe I just can't combine the thoughts and words together into sentences that make any sense.

    Maybe it's because I am weaning myself off the Zoloft since I can't afford it anymore. Maybe that's causing my fatigue.

    Maybe I have been trapped in the house too long (17 days and counting).

    Maybe I should take a shower and wash my hair.

    Maybe I should just take a nap.


    Friday, August 1, 2008

    Silly me... they're SIMILES not METAPHORS

    I have been without a car now for almost two weeks. Actually it's only been 12 days (who's counting?) but it SEEMS like longer.

    Anyhoo, in my intense boredom (there's only so much laundry one can do, and so much junk food one can eat and only so many channels one can surf), I decided to come up with a fun list of similes for being trapped. Hey, it beats cleaning the carpet.

    Feel free to add to this list at any time.

    • Trapped like a rat in a maze.
    • Trapped like a fly in a jar (with no holes).
    • Trapped like bears in a pit.
    • Trapped like roaches in a MOTEL (get it?).
    • Trapped like a mouse under a bowl.
    • Trapped like dinner in a cannibal's cauldron.
    • Trapped like a cricket in a shoebox (with no holes).
    • Trapped like a fly between the screen door and the storm door.
    • Trapped like a medieval prisioner in an Iron Maiden. (ummm.... OUCH!)
    • Trapped like hairs in a drainpipe.
    • Trapped like a bear in ... well, a trap.
    • Trapped like a butterfly in a net.
    • Trapped like a rock between two hard places.
    • Trapped like a skinny dude between two fat people on an airplane.
    • Trapped like boobs in a brassiere.
    • Trapped like a fish in a net.
    • Trapped like a bird in a cage.
    • Trapped like that dude in "Groundhog's Day".
    • Trapped like an ant in a farm (break the glass! break the glass!).
    • Trapped like a lobster in a pot of boiling water (mmmm... them's good eats).

    Well, I'm all tapped out, like a keg at a frat party.

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Excuse me - have you READ my resume?

    I am looking for a job.

    After I was RIFed from Pier 1, I took a few days to regroup and breathe. I was thinking about that old saying - you know - when God closes a door, He opens a window. I don't know if I believe it or not. Things haven't been good for a while - money has been tight, one thing or another is always broken or missing or needs to be replaced, it's a never-ending circle of something.

    You know what I mean?

    Today I had a job interview with a company who shall remain nameless. They were so excited to bring me in. Said they saw my resume, my online portfolio, my funny words, etc. They reached out to me to come on in.

    So I go on in there to interview for a copywriting position. First interview goes great. The second interview goes well too - until the hiring manager says something like "you seem so overqualified for this entry level position."


    This is the deal - THEY contacted ME. THEY saw my online portfolio, my book, my resume and me. How in the world could they even THINK I would be interested in an entry level position?

    The hiring manager said that she was seeing a lot more people accepting lower paying positions because of the economy. I totally understand that, but there is no way that I would drive THAT far for that little money. I said I would wind up OWING them for working there!

    Maybe I went out there for a reason. Maybe a well-paying writing position will open up.

    I'll just keep looking for that window.

    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain

    It's finally raining. After what seems like months since the last time water fell from the sky, we are being sprinkled with a steady, moderately light rain that just tap-tap-taps on the deck. It makes me happy. It makes me sleepy.

    There is something comforting about this rain. There hasn't been any thunder (yet) or lightning. Just two hours of gentle, soothing, caressing rain. My yard looks greener already. My dogs smell wet-doggier already (probably since they were out cavorting in this stuff - the puppies ADORE the rain). I don't even care that the hardwoods are wet and a little muddy and that's it's more work for me later. They were so happy outside, catching the rain with open mouths, like kids do when it snows. I can't remember when the last time was that the pups saw rain.

    Now it's quiet. Everyone is resting. All the dogs are snoozing, the littler ones are piled on top of one another in a puppy pile. The box fan is humming. The ceiling fan has a little squeak. The rain quietly falls on the deck.

    There's a blanket here on the loveseat but the sofa is calling my name... I believe that I am being lured by the siren of sleep... I must give in... I must...

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    Things that make me go... what the???

    You know, there is not a day that goes by when I see something that makes me wonder about people. Here are a few of those things.

    • The Bluetooth: First of all, it's a goofy-butt name. Second of all, it makes people look like they are talking to themselves. A couple of days ago, I was in an an elevator and I totally thought the woman was talking to ME, but she was calling her daughter. I thought it was weird that she called me "honey bun", but hey, I'm cute and I DO have buns. My husband has one, and it drives me crazy because he looks like he's talking to himself like a nut. Plus he uses his hands. That's funny.

    • iPods: I understand their appeal- I mean you can keep all your meaningful music at your fingertips, there's no fumbling around for CDs or farting around with the radio. But honestly, it seems like people walk around with those little plugs in their ears all the time. Do they hear the wind? The rain? People calling their names from the cube next door?

    • Mindless Twitter following: There are a number of people following me on Twitter that I don't know and that don't know me and aren't friends of friends or acquaintances. I've looked at some of them and I am added by some sort of a bot that just adds me to their following list. Why? I mean, I'm sure my life is interesting to SOME people, but to follow me just to follow somebody is just weird. Following friends of friends is great, but following me just so you can say you are following 250,000 people is, well, nutz.

    • Painting your car neon pink: There is a Honda Civic being driven around town that is neon pink. And it's driven by a dude. A DUDE! He is obviously VERY secure in his manhood. OR he painted it for his girlfriend.

    • Time Warner Cable: OK, how about hiring techs and supervisors who ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING!?!?!? TWC has been out to my house SIX times in the past two weeks because my phone and internet keep going out. I have to reset my EMTA box two and three times a day. And they keep sending techs, who keep going onto my very hot attic, who say everything is OK. Do they test my line with meters? NO! Because these techs don't HAVE meters! My hubby did it FOR them and they still don't listen. Yesterday they came out WITH A SUPERVISOR, changed out my box and left. I STILL had no phone, no internet for over eight hours. AND they let my dogs out! But they said it was "fixed." Hey Time Warner Cable - how about hiring people who really know what the heck they are doing?

    That's all for this posting, which was actually supposed to be YESTERDAY'S posting, but because I didn't have INTERNET has to be posted today. So depending on how I feel later, there may be an ACTUAL today's post, but for now we will just say that yesterday's is today's and today's might wind up being tomorrow's and on down the line.


    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    Blooming Like a Flower

    One of my very first posts on this blog was about Nick, a dog Carl and I had the opportunity to rescue from Longview, TX on Christmas Eve. You can read about his story here.

    Well, the good news is that Nick was adopted a couple of months ago. I totally neglected to update this blog with a photo and story, but hey - better late than never, right?

    Take a look at the initial post, when Nick was nothing but a bag of bones, covered in mange and stinking to high heaven, practically toothless, scabby, hairless. He was in such sad shape, I cried (and I don't cry a lot).

    This is a photo of Nick today. Wowza, ya think???

    It is totally amazing what good food, a little vet care, and lots and lots of love can do for an injured, mistreated and abused animal. This is the reason we work in rescue. Nick has a good home now, with a couple of squiddos to play with. He is totally loved, totally adored, and will never again be that scab-covered mongrel he once was.

    We are so fortunate to have played even a small part in his rescue, recovery and re-homing. Nick is a true sweetheart - one Carl and I will never forget.

    Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    Fifteen Things For Today

    Here's one of those totally random posts. I really like doing these things - just typing the first things that pop into my head.
    1. I think Kirkland brand toilet paper is the best there is on the market. Not too soft, and it's pretty strong. Check out the Poop Report (yes, it's real - click the link). Carl is a Charmin kinda guy - my least favorite kind. So I buy two brands to keep the peace.

    2. Looking for a job gives me a headache. I hope this headache ends soon.

    3. I got a really sweet call from my friend Lorrie today. Carl and I have been helping her get her life and house together. She told me she was looking in every room of her house and saw something from us and how greatful she was. I appreciate that - it's better than winning the lottery. We love Lorrie and are happy to help her. Plus we have so much, it's hard NOT to share it.

    4. Millie is trying her darndest to become the alpha female. I gotta whip this girlie girl into shape.

    5. The Furminator - the best product on the market for getting off your dog's undercoat. Expensive and worth every penny.

    6. We finally got some rain today. This afternoon, I stood outside on the deck and let it rain, rain, rain on me. It felt SO good!

    7. You know those potatoes you can find at the supermarket that are washed, wrapped and ready for microwaving? Those potatoes are pretty darn good - and dinner can be had for less than a dollar!

    8. Tomorrow I am making Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti for dinner. It's pretty much the only casserole Carl will eat too.

    9. I made the prettiest centerpiece with an $8 vase and some faux mondo grass I got at Big Lots for $2. I have gotten SO many compliments on it, it's weird that the whole thing cost me less than $10!

    10. I am freaking out about making the mortgage payment this month. Pray that something comes through for us!

    11. I am taking Genie to an adoption day this Saturday. I keep telling her that we are going to find her a new family, but Carl says she is staying here. She is awfully darn loveable and a real cutie - I think it's her eyes. One has black lashes, the other white. She is a beautiful Pyr.

    12. Dara Torres is a world record swimmer at age 41. She totally rocks!

    13. I really, really, REALLY need to mow the grass. I wish I could get motivated to do it, but it's too darn hot.

    14. My passport is expired.

    15. Scarlett O'Hara said, "Tomorrow is another day." I hope tomorrow brings something new, fresh and exciting for me. Maybe even a job!

    Monday, July 7, 2008

    Getting my act together - finally

    I've been meaning (and needing) to get my poop in a group and get a website together that showcased my work at Pier 1 and Bombay Company. You would think this would be pretty easy straightforward and not too gosh-darned complicated. And it really isn't, I just haven't been able to really take the time and get it done.

    Well, get this Internet - I got it STARTED! HA! I bet you thought I was going to say that it was done. But I ran into problems. Plan A turned into Plan B (lunch) and Plan B finally became Plan C, which is sorta working. It's not yet 100%, and it needs a lot of tweaking, but it's a start. And I'm not too horribly ashamed to put it out there in the Universe for potential employers to see.

    Anyhoo, I hope that you all will check out my little online portfolio here and let me know what you think. Is there anything I should add? Delete? Give me some feedback!

    Friday, July 4, 2008

    Fireworks and the passing of a good man...

    The Fourth is almost over, thank goodness. The neighbors are shooting off fireworks and firecrackers and the dogs are going bananas. I tried to take Jude for a walk tonight and he heard one go off pretty close to us. I never saw him run home so fast - ever!

    The fireworks are the hardest part about having dogs. I don't live in the world's best neighborhood, and there were a couple thrown right into my yard already - freaking out both ME and the little monkeys.

    Oh well. Just a couple more hours and it will all be over...

    The sad news is that my friend Luther's dad passed away on June 28th. Luther is married to Monica, and they have the squiddo, Danielito Pablo Escobar Enrique Jose. I only got to meet Max Cobbey once, but he made an impression on me even in that brief period. We were helping Luther clean and organize his li-berry at the elementary school and both his mom and dad were there. What struck me about his dad was his very cool hat and his handsome, sorta beatnik look. That and the fact that you could tell he adored his family. We chatted only a little, but he seemed wise, wonderful, sensitive, sensible and deliberate - the kind of a parent most kids wish they would have had.

    He served in WW II, taught school and eventually went to the mission field. He is survived by his wife, five kids and (my count) four grandchildren.

    Luther and Monica are on their way back from China as we speak for his memorial service on Wednesday. I think I will go.

    Here are some very sweet posts written by Monica about her father-in-law. One is about a couple of reason's her FIL totally rocked . The other is about the loving consistency of the Cobbey men. Both are cool, insightful reads.

    I know his family is devastated at his passing, but grateful that this man of faith is chatting it up with his Maker and Master right now. Godspeed, Mr. Cobbey.

    Thursday, July 3, 2008

    Celebrating the Fourth of July

    Tomorrow is the Fourth of July.

    When I was a little girl, I absolutely LOVED the Fourth of July. I come from a pretty small town in Michigan, and the Fourth was one of those days when the whole place stopped down to have some fun.

    The day began early with Dad getting the grill ready for some barbecued chicken. In those days, there was a rotisserie basket thing that turned the chicken all day long so it never cooked too long in one spot. I can still hear the hum of the thing as it turned for hours and hours.

    Us kids practically LIVED for the big parade. Floats, bands and Miss Manistee were big parts of it. Plus they tossed candy off the floats in those days - perfect for a chunky girl with a sweet tooth!

    The parade was the highlight of the day. Folks would line U.S. 31 and downtown River Street to watch. There were all the high school and middle school bands, of course, and the Scottville Clown Band - which was a bunch of guys dressed up like women playing instruments. They always scared the poop out of me, but they were a semi-famous local group.

    There were lots of antique cars and fire engines, the mayor, of course, and certain city officials. But of course my sisters and I always wanted to see Miss Manistee, the Strawberry Queen. She was always so beautiful and wholesome and waved like you thought a true queen would. She was usually a teen from the local high school. The pageant itself brought girls in from all the surrounding counties for a chance to win that rhinestone tiara. Because it was affiliated with the Miss America Pageant, she not only had to be beautiful, but she had to be talented as well. No milking cows or shearing sheep - only singers, dancers, musicians and of course - BATON TWIRLERS - ever became Miss Manistee.

    After the parade, we went back home to eat barbecue, chat with relatives, gorge ourselves sick on strawberries and soda pop (this was one of the few times when we were allowed a WHOLE CAN and didn't have to share it four ways) and all the goodies that came with the Fourth. We would lay down in the grass and take a nap, or the more adventurous would venture on down to the beach to watch the Lumberjack contests or AAAAA baseball. Sometimes it meant taking a drive to the cemetery to plant a flag or some red, white and blue flowers or pinwheels on the graves of our ancestors.

    Also, the Fourth of July always coincided with the National Strawberry Festival. This meant that dessert was always strawberry shortcake, strawberry ice cream, strawberry cheese cake or some other variation of the strawberry. For weeks before and after, mom and grandma would be making and canning strawberry jam and freezing strawberries to use in the winter months.

    When dusk came, and we had had a snack of leftovers and more strawberries, we all piled into the car and went down to the beach to watch the fireworks. There was nothing more wonderful than those beautiful, swirling, colorful, noisy lights popping off in the sky, the scent of gunpowder and cheap wine, and the sounds of people kissing as the fireworks went off, as if kissing at just the right time would bring them happiness and a good long marriage. Usually one of us would fall asleep and Dad would have to carry us back to the car. We always slept good that night.

    I miss those old-fashioned, small town Fourths. I miss the freedom we had to ride our bikes and follow the parade to get more candy. I miss eating strawberries right off the vine and not worrying about pesticides. I miss Dad's rotisserie chicken and grandma's strawberry cheesecake.

    Most of all I think I miss being a kid. Being a kid in a small town was a wonderful gift that I took totally for granted.

    Tomorrow, I will line my drive with little American flags (that have been made in China) and Carl will make some barbecued ribs and a brisket. Our friend Lorrie will come by to share the bounty. We will eat until our stomachs are about to pop and then we will eat some more. Later on, we will sit and watch the fireworks from our deck.

    And I will totally miss HOME, and my family, and being a kid and feeling so safe - back when the Fourth of July was such a wondrous, magical time.

    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    Letting the sleeping dog lie

    Millie Jean, our littlest pyr, is a world class sleeper. World class. If there were a gold medal given for puppy sleeping, she should win it hands down. Er, paws down.

    Giving to the fact that she is, after all, only about four months old, Millie is a PLAYA. By that I mean she literally PLAYS all the time. And when she is NOT playing, she is sleeping. Hard sleeping. She lays down and she is totally out like the proverbial light.

    And this dog loves to get comfortable. No, sleeping on the floor is NOT for her. There are cushy things called sofas, chairs and beds and only the best will do for this little princess. No blanket on the floor is good enough. No simple ortho pad in the crate will work. She must have comfort, and it's best if there are blankets and pillows involved for moving around to create a nest that is juuuuust right.

    Just this afternoon, after about an hour of wrestling with Henry and Genie, 'swimming' in her paddling pool, and running up and down the stairs, Millie climbed on to the couch. Before I could say "who's your mama?" she was out like a light.

    She is a hard sleeper, and she is also a SNORER. I thought Carl was a champion snorer until Millie came into our lives. She snores, she has her little puppy dreams where she runs, she tosses, she turns. She takes her sleeping very seriously.

    When she wakes, she's like me. She absolutely CANNOT believe that her nap is over and she looks totally groggy and unprepared for the day (or the rest of her day).

    Henry, bless his little gay pyr heart, is telling her that she has morning breath. Then, of course, she kisses him. ON THE PUPPY LIPS!!!

    You know, in my next life, I think I want to come back as a totally spoiled dog - just like mine are. I think I deserve the life of Riley, whoever he is.

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    A Death by Chocolate dream

    I had the oddest dream this morning.

    My friend Debi told me the other day that for lunch she had a Death by Chocolate sundae from a local custard (mustard) shop. Me, in my middle-age wisdom and knowledge, told her that you don't actually DIE from eating Death by Chocolate - just in case she was worrying about passing away at her desk or something.

    Anyhoo, this morning I dreamed that anyone who ate the Death by Chocolate sundae from this particular custard (mustard) shop, actually DID die. Channel 5's Jane McGarry was reporting from the scene and there were all these people laying dead, but there were LOTS of smiles on their faces.

    Jane was getting ready to sample Death by Chocolate and tempt fate when Henry leapt on top of me to wake me up.

    I wonder if Jane will make the 6:00 o' clock news tonight...

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Ten random things for today...

    For today's post, I thought that Ten Random Things might be fun. It also might NOT be fun, so just bear with me.
    1. I had lunch today with Debi and Tiffany (hereafter to be known as Doodle and Tootle). It was totally fun to catch up. I miss my buds from the Pier a lot.
    2. Pappa's Burgers have probably the best burgers I've had in a while. And good crispy fries too. I ate the WHOLE thing. And a Diet Cherry Coke.
    3. I think Henry, my mini pyr (he had parvo and survived) is gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that. He's very delicate and dainty and likes to be held.
    4. I think somebody might have pooped upstairs. Too darn bad I'm in the middle of a blog post. HAHAHA!
    5. Nope, it was just a Bailey fart. Good LORD that dog's farts stink.
    6. Wow - already with the farting post. I guess that's the price I pay for feeding my dogs hard boiled eggs, whole wheat bread and laxatives.
    7. I am totally into creating black and white cards now. For a long time I was really into the bright colors and paint chips. I haven't gone completely away from them, but I'm digging this B&W stuff I'm producing.
    8. Hobby Lobby was having 50% off all scrapbooking papers and I am a paper whore. This is my heaven.
    9. I got a brand new 20x30 self-healing mat for half price because the package was opened. It's great that you can bargain your way into cool stuff if you have the nerve to.
    10. Ten random things took a lot less time than I thought it would. Maybe I should have made it 15 random things. Oh well, since this post is already finished, it's just too darn late.

    4:39 PM update: I was totally wrong about the poop. Yikes. Thank goodness for 1) puppy pads 2) Febreeze and 3) LYSOL.

    Monday, June 23, 2008

    Quiet Time

    Monday morning, 6:29 AM... all is quiet on my southern front.

    The weekend was busier than normal. Friends in crisis, "discussions" with the husband, cleaning, laundry, painting... I need a work-week to rest up from my weekend. Seriously.

    Quiet is nice, but sometimes it makes me nervous. Growing up in a house full of people, it was never quiet. There were always people yelling, dogs barking, cows mooing, something blasting away on the television or country music on the radio. Quiet was something I craved. It was SO hard to think when I was growing up. So if the day was nice, I would walk to the First Street Beach. There was a lovely, looooong pier there with a lighthouse at the end of it. I could sit there for hours - just me, the boulders, the seagulls and the crashing waves. God, it was so wonderful there. I miss that so dearly.

    When I took Carl home to meet my family, I took him out the the pier and lighthouse. Like me, Carl is a water sign. We spent about an hour out there - NOT TALKING. I've got to tell you, it was the best communication time ever.

    Anyway, back to the quiet. Even now, I just can't rest when it is TOO quiet. I have to have some noise. In my bedroom, I have a little air conditioner AND a box fan AND a ceiling fan. Both the noise and the cold make me sleep better. There is something to soothing to me about the hum of a box fan or the whirr of the air conditioner that sort of induces sleep - better than a pill or a bath or aromatherapy.

    In just a couple of hours, the phone will start ringing, the doorbell will buzz, kids will get outside and start playing (meaning the dogs will be barking up a storm), and all my "quiet" will be gone for another day. So I will relish this semi-silent time, thank God for His blessings in my life, and Boy Scout Motto myself up for another day.

    Rawk on!